Akimbo finds MARC BELL to be

“Marc Bell's Hot Potatoe ” / Akimbo / January 21, 2010

Marc Bell's Hot Potatoe | Art and Cold Cash | David Merritt at Museum London

by Sky Glabush

For this report, I want to focus on the play between words and images and look at two exciting new book projects as well as the work of David Merritt, whose drawings and installations amble on the peripheries of image and sound.

Marc Bell, Hot Potatoe (cover), Drawn and Quarterly, 2009

I found myself loitering by the bookrack at Forest City Gallery, pouring over a recent publication handed to me by gallery director Jason Schiedel. Once inside this intricate and delightfully perverse world I couldn’t easily escape. A droopy, pink-eyed, bearded creature with oven mitts for hands and buckteeth looks out across the landscape and mutters disdainfully, “Ew Gaud.” His is a world somewhere between Sponge-Bob and Joseph Cornell where Philip Guston looms large and oven-baked Sculpy magically transforms into pieces of bacon. Drawn and Quarterly’s new publication Hot Potatoe is a frolicking gambol around the stream of conscious meandering and comic virtuosity of one of Canada’s best graphic-folk-art noodley-doodlers Marc Bell. My favourite character is “Tim Ho Ton.” Part hookah-pipe, part recycled roll-up-the-rim cups, he is the incarnation of that early morning fix of genetically modified, MSG and ephedrine-soaked caffeine.
(Disclaimer: I can’t exactly claim that Bell’s book originated in London, Ontario, but a case could be made that without Greg Curnoe, Kim Moodie, Beale High School and fellow students Jason McLean and Peter Thompson, this might not be such a hot potato. And Peter Thompson, who does live in London, makes a guest appearance. So there.)

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